Operations will stop after PKK’s withdrawal, Turkish PM Erdoğan says
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
PKK starts withdrawing from Turkey in May. DHA Photo
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will not end unless they lay down their arms, speaking in a televised interview late Aug. 22.
“It is out of question for us to bargain with anyone right now. We will never end the operation in this country unless the arms are laid down. I have said this many times in the rallies. The arms will be laid down and [then] the operations will stop,” Erdoğan said in an interview on the private channel Ülke TV yesterday.
Erdoğan also said that around 15 percent of the PKK militants had withdrawn from the Turkish soil and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) also agreed with the accuracy of this number.
“I recently said that the 15 percent increased to 20 percent. We are following this with our intelligence and all other [institutions]. The skills and status of those who left the country is very important. Now they say that the withdrawal is completed. There is no such thing. This [the rate of those who withdrew] is around 20 percent. They are giving dates all the time. One is giving a date, the other is giving another date. We didn’t set any dates,” said Erdoğan, speaking on the recent statements of the PKK leaders.
“Neither my police nor my soldiers are eager to hold any operation when the withdrawal is completed,” Erdoğan also said.
Erdoğan said that the government has shown tolerance and took risks by allowing the meetings with Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK leader imprisoned for life in İmralı island prison. He said the Justice Minister had authorized BDP deputies to meet with Öcalan, showing a humanitarian attitude on the issue.
“We have gone further in this issue, despite many criticisms. We do not have any agreement over this,” said Erdoğan also calling on the BDP and the PKK to take sensitive steps.
Responding to a question about the recent statements from senior PKK members in the media reports, Erdoğan said, “we will not fear these threats.”